Euro 2008: Matchday 11 (Group C)

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Three teams. One spot. We all knew Group C of the European Championships would be the most competitive, but I’m not sure many of us could have imagined just how the group would play out.

The Netherlands have torched Italy and France on its way to a berth in the quarterfinals. That leaves Romania, France and Italy to vie for the second quarterfinal berth in the group. This brings us to France-Italy, a rematch of the 2006 World Cup final. The winner will reach the quarters if Romania loses to the Netherlands. If Romania ties the Netherlands and Italy and France tie then we are in a dizzying series of tie-breakers to determine the second qualifier.

France and Italy will be facing off today on ESPN at 2:30pm. Whether it’s Italy-France or Netherlands-Romania, please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on today’s action in the comments section below. I will post my own commentary in the comments section as well.

Enjoy the matches.

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115 Responses to Euro 2008: Matchday 11 (Group C)

  1. dano says:

    Bah, keeping Touloun, and benching Malouda. Bad decision by Domenech.

  2. doug says:

    Lets get ready for some legal match fixing everyone!!! Holland and Romania will have the 2 dumbest coaches in the tournament if they allow the French or Italians to make it to the Qtrs.

  3. ManicMessiah says:

    There is not a single ounce of creativity in the center of the French midfield.

  4. doug says:

    gotta keep Toulalon in there becuase he’s quicker and faster than his partner Makelele. I wouldve preferred to see Makelele dropped in favor of Sami Nasri

  5. doug says:

    great point messiah, everything from the French will come from the wings with Ribery and Govou

  6. Brant says:

    Well, the Dutch have the JV lineup in. Even Dirk Kuyt didn’t get the call, so that tells you how far down the bench Van Basten is going. No word on the veracity of the rumor that he was hanging out at the Dutch fans’ hotels looking for scrubs to throw in against Team Vampire.

    Truth be told, Van Basten is in an enviable position. He can eliminate two of the most obnoxious teams in recent memory by exerting as little effort as possible. It’s not really a bad position to be in.

    (Cue Geico Gecko: “It’s the Queen wanting to know if you want to have dinner at the Palace, or the Castle. Either way, you’ve having’ filet mignon.”

  7. ManicMessiah says:

    I still say van Persie or Robben nick at least something from Romania.

  8. ManicMessiah says:

    Ribery is being carted off the field. Surely Domenech must have seen this, so the sub should be in rather promptly.

  9. doug says:

    Nasri time. Domenech is a moron. Nasri shouldve been on from the start

  10. doug says:

    Where does he play? Nasri is a natural “tres-quartista” and Ribery was on the left wing

  11. Brant says:

    Nasri should’ve been starting, but not for RIbery. Should’ve been starting up front.

  12. doug says:

    Yeah Benzema hasnt shown anything this tournament to justify the huge price tag

  13. doug says:

    Looks like Nasri has been given a free role to roam and playmake. Now with Ribery out and Nasri drifting central, look for TH14 to take his usual position, cutting in from the left wing

  14. Ives says:

    22nd minute- Italy has the French on the back-foot. Losing Ribery is huge for the French and I’m not sure if Nasri can pick up the slack.

  15. nad says:

    well, that looks like the end of the french

  16. HomeyBoehme says:

    As long as Italy do not make it out of the first round, I will be happy. That said, I don’t really want to see France make it out of the first round either.

    Go Romania!

  17. Dominghosa says:

    Was that really a penalty and a red card?

  18. ManicMessiah says:

    Bad play by Abidal, he gets sent off, Italy go up 1-0, and the game is over.

  19. doug says:

    Italy penalty, Abidal sent off, France a player down coupled with the loss of creative Ribery and fighting back from 1-0 against an Italian team. I’d say France are as good as out

  20. Ives says:

    25th minute- GOAL ITALY. Pirlo converts the penalty and now France must come from behind a man down after Eric Abidal was sent off for taking down Luca Toni in the area.

  21. ManicMessiah says:

    Nasri comes off for Boumsong.

  22. Ives says:

    27th minute- Boumsong on for Nasri to make up for the loss of Abidal. That’s a tough one for Nasri, who barely had a chance to do anything. Raymond Domenench looks lost.

  23. DCM says:

    Abidal receives a well deserved Red for a horrible attempt to stop Toni from behind (no where near getting the ball) and instead brings him down.

    Italy 1-0 France

  24. Brant says:

    C’mon Team Vampire! Pressure’s really on now that a draw won’t cut it. Maybe they’ll announce the score and the Oranje can just sit down on the pitch for a while.

  25. HomeyBoehme says:

    FIRE DOMENECH NOW!

  26. dano says:

    A goal down, and you sub off an offensive player for a defensive one? I understand you just lost a central defender, but you need a goal. I would have let them play til halftime, and then made a change.

  27. doug says:

    Nasri off for Boumsong? WOW!!! Domenech is not even pretending to try this game. In a game that needs French goals, Domenech takes of the most creative player on the roster and replaces him with the worst defender France has ever known. I suspect Domenech will be sacked at halftime. How is that for karma Michel Platini?

  28. Ives says:

    28th minute- Luca Toni almost backheels a shot on goal.

  29. Ives says:

    30th minute- Italy looks energized now and doesn’t look like it is trying to sit on 1-0. They are attacking and France doesn’t look close to responding.

  30. HomeyBoehme says:

    Mutu is going to regret his horrible penalty attempt vs Italy at the end of this day.

  31. Brant says:

    Is it possible to fire a coach *during* the game?! France soooooo need to pitch Domenech off the nearest Alp.

    Pull Nasri after 17 minutes?!

    Put in Boumsong?!

    What’s he doing, protecting the loss?!

  32. ManicMessiah says:

    I don’t even want to watch the rest of this match. I’m not sure Domenech has made a positive decision once this entire tournament, and there’s no reason why the team as constituted, and down a man, should have any hope of coming back.

  33. ManicMessiah says:

    The one certainty in this match is that Makelele and Toulalan will finish the game. Can’t sacrifice a defensive midfielder when goals need to be scored after all.

  34. doug says:

    You have to feel for Nasri. He got a raw deal in terms of his playing time the entire tournament. France needed his creativity in every game and ends up playing a total of 25 minutes in 3 games. And we thought Bob Bradley doesnt know how to use his squad. Domenech makes BB look like Capello

  35. Shoshana says:

    Toni, making Eddie Johnson look good since Euro 2008

  36. doug says:

    If France tie this game, Luca Toni will have a LOT to answer for

  37. ManicMessiah says:

    That kind of finish is the only way France will score. Too bad Henry wasn’t up to the task.

  38. Ives says:

    36th minute- France showing more life, but still can’t finish.

  39. doug says:

    France needs to go balls out starting now. Forget being down a man, the Italians are going to bunker down. If Domenech had an ounce of tactical acumen, he would pull Toulalon and throw on another striker

  40. Ives says:

    37th minute- Dangerous France free kick after Gattuso fouls Henry from behind.

  41. HomeyBoehme says:

    What shockingly abysmal displays from France and Italy this first round. OMG just awful.

  42. Ives says:

    38th minute- Benzema takes the free kick and puts it into the wall. The kick got about a yard off the ground.

  43. doug says:

    that sound you here is Benzema’s transfer price dropping like the stock market

  44. ManicMessiah says:

    I agree with the sentiment Doug, but I think you have to take out Makelele in that scenario, if for no other reason than Makelele is a bit old to be doing the running that would be required on his own.

  45. doug says:

    out of all the youngsters expected to star in Euro 2008 (Benzema, Mario Gomez, Modric) the one who is looking best is Arda from Turkey. Ives who are the top youngsters in your opinion this tourney?

  46. Dave says:

    Just letting you know at least one person is following this to keep track the game. I appreciate your updates guys!

  47. doug says:

    I’d leave Makelele becuase you dont have to worry about him going forward. Toulalon is more of a Vieira-type box to box midfielder

  48. Ives says:

    42nd minute- You wouldn’t know France was a man down based on how the game is going. Italy isn’t taking advantage.

  49. doug says:

    Andy Gray mentions “belief” for the French team. The last time he did it was the monumental comeback with the Turks. A sign maybe?

  50. Brant says:

    I cannot even fathom why Boumsong is in there for his defense, rather than his comedic talents while pretending to defend. They guy got cut by Newcastle… NEWCASTLE! If you can’t play defense for Newcastle, you can’t play for anyone*

    France has no midfield linkage from attack to defense. They look like The Crew in 2006. Or just about any French team since Zindane retired.

    * And Galaxy fans, take note: Babayaro was cut by Newcastle, signed with LA, and then was cut by LA. So if you can’t play in the back for Newcastle, you really *can’t* play in the back for anyone.

    And as I type this, I’m wearing my Newcastle jersey at work. Don’t laugh; it’s clean :)

  51. Ives says:

    44th minute- Grosso free kick hits the left post. Wow, what a free kick.

  52. Brant says:

    doug said “If Domenech had an ounce of tactical acumen”

    C’mon – we answered that months ago! And confirmed it about 20 minutes ago! :)

  53. Ives says:

    45th minute- Andrea Pirlo just got a yellow card and will miss the quarters if Italy makes it. The Italians are upset that France kept playing after an Italian player went down with an injury.

  54. Ives says:

    45th minute- Grosso’s free kick was actually saved by Coupet, who got finger tips to it that just directed it off the left post. That was a sure goal.

  55. doug says:

    Holland and Romania is mind numbing football. In the 2nd half expect Mutu to ask Bouhlarhouz to take him out in the box in minute 93 for a penalty that knocks out Italy and France

  56. HomeyBoehme says:

    Italian player goes down with an “injury”?!?!?! WOW!! I’ve never seen that before! DIVING CHEATS!!!!!!!

  57. doug says:

    i love these Nike commercials. just thought i’d say this

  58. Brant says:

    Homey – one can only hope the French score as the ‘injured’ Italian is laying over the end line, in the mistaken belief that the attacker would be offsides if he did so :)

  59. g-loff says:

    In the other game, Netherlands B-team is not giving an inch to Romania. Box to box action, but no goals at the half.

  60. Brant says:

    doug – are those the ‘first-person’ commercials? those rock.

  61. Ives says:

    HALFTIME- Italy 1, France 0. The Italians have the lead and are a man up, but France still hasn’t given up despite losing Eric Abidal to a red card and Franck Ribery to an injury.

  62. HomeyBoehme says:

    I wonder what Domenech is saying to his team at the half…

  63. Brant says:

    I wonder if Nasri already booked his own flight home to leave before halftime is over.

  64. ManicMessiah says:

    I really needed France to do something in this tournament. Between watching the Red Bulls lumber along through the season, and following along Newcastles offseason (or lack thereof), it was all I had to look forward to.

  65. Ives says:

    47th minute- And we’re off.

  66. RK says:

    I still can’t get my head around Ribery going off due to injury, Nasri going in, and then being subbed out. Inexplicable.

  67. Brant says:

    @Manic:

    Hey – Newcastle let Carr go in the offseason: addition by subtraction!

    (I’m surprised Domenech hasn’t tried to sign him up for the French squad…)

  68. g-loff says:

    Domenench at halftime: “Has anyone heard if the Mexico job has been filled? Wait, they gave it to Eriksson? Well I guess that means I have no job prospects for the future. Maybe ESPN will let me commentate with Tommy Smyth, people always say we have the same amount of football acumen.”

  69. Ives says:

    Benzema had an open look from about 25 but sent it high.

  70. g-loff says:

    Van Persie pulls a Toni, brings the ball down beautifully in the box, but can’t capitalize. Only difference is Van Persie actually forces the keeper to make a decent save.

  71. William the Terror says:

    Two observations:

    1. Watching Toni miss chance after chance, I really have to wonder just how bad the defense is in hte Budesliga (I mean didn’t he score over 30 goals there this season?).

    2. Although there is not much to cheer for so far, I will still cry out a rousing Hup, Holland Hup!!!!!

  72. Ives says:

    Netherlands have scored so Italy is in if this stays the same. Netherlands 1, Romania 0

  73. HomeyBoehme says:

    This is all going horribly wrong. Why didn’t Mutu score that penalty? WHY!?!?!?

  74. Ives says:

    62nd minute- GOAL ITALY!!!!!!! DeRossi with a blast.

  75. ManicMessiah says:

    2-0 Italy. Domenech will probably be getting ready to replace Govou with a striker right about now. He makes me sick.

  76. HomeyBoehme says:

    Heavens, this is making me want to work.

  77. Ives says:

    DeRossi’s long-range free kick was deflected by Thierry Henry in the wall, leaving Coupet helpless. And Italy looks ready to go to the quarterfinals. Better yet, we’re looking at Spain-Italy in the quarters.

  78. HomeyBoehme says:

    @Manic – No, no. Now is the time for the three defensive holding midfielders formation!

  79. William the Terror says:

    The mere thought of Italy going through sickens me. They have played a shameful tournament. The only more shameful performance has been turned in by the French. It would be just like the Italians to sneak through the back door and then beat Spain and win the damn tournament. Jeez, even the co-hosts have represented better than the Italians. What a cruel joke.

  80. ManicMessiah says:

    Brilliant shot by Benzema, good save by Buffon.

  81. Brant says:

    Ah yes – the genius of the Boumsong substitution is now in full bloom!

    Italy score and double their lead, and now he’s carrying a yellow card.

    If Domenech had replaced Nasri with blow-up doll, would it have been less effective?

  82. ManicMessiah says:

    Domenech came into all of these games with a negative mindset, and France are getting everything they deserve at this point.

    Les bleus are more noir et bleu after the beatings in the last 2 matches.

  83. g-loff says:

    Romania just whacking the ball out from the back, with almost every ball going straight to from the back to the Dutch keeper. When Romania do happen to move the ball through the midfield, they easily give it away in the final third. The Dutch B-team has too much class for Romania right now.

  84. Ives says:

    82nd minute- Aquilani for Gattuso. And no, France looks no closer to tying this one up.

  85. RK says:

    Yikes, the Dutch have 62% of possession…

  86. RK says:

    And the Dutch make it 2-0. Poor Romania…

  87. g-loff says:

    A comical bit of attempted finishing by Romania, with about 6 chances that finish with a nice bike that goes about 10 yds over.

  88. Ives says:

    FINAL- Italy 2, France 0 and Italy is into the quarterfinals. Italy vs. Spain. WOW, what a quarterfinal.

  89. Brant says:

    It’s amazing that all the Dutch have to do to earn the undying love of the footballing world is roll over and play dead, and they can’t even do that.

    I mean, c’mon – if you’re going to play to win, then beat the piss out of the Romanians. If you can beat France and Italy by combined 7-1, you ought to be able to beat Team Dracula by at least that. If you’re going to not try, then don’t try.

  90. HomeyBoehme says:

    This group of death was embarrassing for everyone but Holland.

  91. Brant says:

    I think the Group of Death was so named for the effect on the audience.

  92. William the Terror says:

    Well, three wins in three games for a very classy Dutch team. Clearly, they are playing full out attacking, entertaining football.

    Quarters:

    Portugal v. Germany — good game

    Croatia v. Turkey — good game

    Holland v. Russia/Sweden — good game

    Spain v. the shameful Italians — GO SPAIN

    I guess I can always hope that the Italina team bus slides off an icy Alpine road on the way to the game and falls into a 4000′ crevasse (but dammit, it’s summer and that’s not very likely.

    Semifinalists: Portugal; Turkey; Holland and Spain.

  93. Joe says:

    I don’t know what this has to do with anything, but coach Ruud just admitted in a post-game interview with ESPN that he used to look like a porn star. I feel like people need to know this sort of thing.

  94. Dante says:

    Why are the Italians shameful?

  95. William the Terror says:

    Because they came into this tournament as one of the favorites and played like absolute crap. They were humiliated by the Dutch (although that is a relavitive term, as the Italians don’t seem to undertsand the concept of humility). Then they should have lost to Romania but sneaked out with a tie. But, at least they proved that they can win against a ten-man side of geriatrics. If they had any pride at all, they would decline to participate in the quarters and give Spain a pass. Not that we have much to woory about in that regard, as Spain should blow through their defense quite handily.

    Don’t worry, my scorn also extends to France and Germany, both of which have underwhelmed following massive pre-tourny hype.

    Hup, Holland, Hup!!

  96. Richard says:

    why the f*** is everyone hatin’ on italy?? France dove JUST as much except ours got called for a pk… The ref missed some real fouls on us anyway…

    besides that, towards the end, when camoranesi’s shot got deflected and went out for the corner(or throw-in i dont remember) i think cassano gave him the ball…u could tell that aquilani desperately wanted the ball at his feet for one of his trademark BOMBS. i was hoping for that too…

  97. Richard says:

    uh-huh, they’re shameful b/c they’re the WC champs… yea, real smart mr. HUP

    of course theres gonna be hype… its the f***ing italian media! and american media thats blows this “WC FINAL REMATCH” out of proportion…

    that being said, i dont see how the dutch aren’t the favorite’s at this point… with van der sar being an obvious keeper of the tournament…

  98. William the Terror says:

    Being world cup champs in 2006 does not make them #@&* today.

  99. William the Terror says:

    @Richard:

    And, to address your second point — having followed the Dutch since the 74 World Cup, I have grown used to disappointment in these tournaments. So, while I am with the Oranje heart and soul, another early exit will not surprise me.

  100. peteo says:

    Anyone know why Tommy Smyth has been AWOL the past few days?

  101. JB says:

    If Domenech still has a job by the time World Cup qualifiers start after this horrible tournament by France then people need to cut Bob Bradley some slack. Because France was inept in this tournament and only Scotland blowing it against Georgia got them in the tournament in the first place. Managers have been fired for a lot less than the garbage France inflicted on us for the last two weeks.

  102. brant says:

    @ peteo

    “Anyone know why Tommy Smyth has been AWOL the past few days?”

    He’s been calling the game opposite Andy. Since there are 2 games on at the same time, Andy calls one and he calls the other, and neither are in the studio.

    It’s a fringe benefit of having 2 simultaneous games.

  103. Dante says:

    I really have no idea what game some of you were watching with some of these comments. Italians being shameful is just an insane comment to make. You’re just trying to wind people up. Instead, you make yourself look foolish. What is going on with SBI lately?

  104. Pietro says:

    Dante, I agree completely.

    Italy got off to a rought start. If everyone remembers way back when to the WC, Italy had a rough go of it in the group stage as well. Sure, they have a few key injuries and suspensions this time around, but look for them to turn it up a notch in the elimination stages.

  105. William the Terror says:

    Huh??

    Just because you love the Italians doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to. Nor does it mean that we have to be RATIONAL about it.

    Holland, Portugal and Spain have played BY FAR the best football in the tournament. France and Italy have played the worst. That is indisputable.

    And yet, if Italy somehow manges to bore their opponents to death for the next 3 games and somehow wins, the Italian fans will marvel at their victory and cogratulate themselves on their greatness.

    Over the last 3 days, their have numerous stories about former Italian coaches and players begging Van Basten not to throw the game today to give Italy a 2nd chance. That’s PATHETIC!!! Well, the Dutch had too much pride to throw the game (despite the fact that it was in everyone’s best interests that they do so). It will probably come back to haunt them.

  106. William the Terror says:

    sorry for all the incorrect spellings in the above posting.

  107. Pietro says:

    You’re right Will, you don’t have to be rational. I’m too tired to spell out a counterargument in its entirety, but basically, all that matters is the elimination games, and getting there one way or another. That applies to many sports, and while it might not seem fair in every instance, it’s the way things work.

  108. Joe D. says:

    Hey William,

    The reason why the idea of the Dutch laying down in the last game was considered a possibility was due to the fact that it happened in EURO 2006 (Denmark & Sweden). But Van Basten is a friend of Donadoni, and I also read that he wants to coach in Italy someday, so there wasn’t a chance of them laying down. Stop saying that the Dutch should have just laid down. THAT would have been shameless!

    You are correct that the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain have played the best thus far. However, should we just give trophies out for doing well up to the quarterfinals and everyone else should just go home? I am looking forward to these insane quarterfinal matchups. Hell, we have Portugal vs Germany and Spain vs Italy. Can you get any better than that?!

    One last thing, if Italy does make the final, I think it is pretty damn obvious that they won’t make it there by playing boring, defensive soccer. They don’t have the defense to do it, and Donadoni has a mostly offensive squad.

  109. Joe D. says:

    I meant EURO 2004….sorry

  110. Josh says:

    Now would the FFF please please PLEASE fire Domenech?!?!? As Grant Wahl noted, it’s stupid to keep four defenders and two d-mids on the field when you’re down two goals and need to score to survive.

    There is simply too much talent on that French squad for them to be playing that poorly, and that’s gotta fall on the coach, who refuses to let the past be the past, refusing to give the younger players (with the exception of Ribery) a chance. They’d get better results with Bruce Arena running the frickin’ team!!

  111. span says:

    “I guess I can always hope that the Italina team bus slides off an icy Alpine road on the way to the game and falls into a 4000′ crevasse ” ~ William the Terror

    I hope you get splinters in your feet from your clogs you irrational coward. Try to show a little class a-hole.

    I’m so tired of the Dutch attitude…”we play the prettiest football, it’s sooo unfair that we never win when it matters…waahh” Come on…results are what matter and NOT the round robin ones. I sincerely hope Holland lose to Sweden/Russia in penalties (salt in the wound, tulip boy)

  112. vipero says:

    hey terrorizing everybody but me William: we got a miracle, despite a poor game against a french nut we’re still in. And you know what? We love having you and the rest of the world yelling at us. We’re the bad, corrupted and diving boys that could even win the the final match. that’s life my dear, the goods win only in movies ;o) cheers from Italy, enjoy.

  113. Thierry Henry says:

    Mon, Dieu!!

    I really thought our team of aging primadonnas would beat their team of aging primadonnas. Cest la vie et ….. Allez, Espana!!!

  114. HomeyBoehme says:

    OK, it is one thing to want Italy to lose. It is entirely another to hope that their team bus crashes.

    That said, I hope Italy lose to Spain in the Quarterfinals so I don’t have to hear about, think about, or read about the Italian team anymore.

  115. Joe D. says:

    hey Span,

    don’t mistake William’s comments as the typical Dutch attitude. The Dutch are very friendly and easy going. Also, the Dutch actually like Italian soccer, especially since Van Basten, Rijkaard, and Gullit were a big reason for the Milan dominance in the late 80s…